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SMR COMMITTEE


Chair:
Dr Sam Butterworth
Sam is a Senior Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Manchester, where his group work on applying synthetic and biological chemistry to address questions of relevance to human health. Prior to this he worked at the University of Birmingham from 2013 and at AstraZeneca from 2005-2013. His work at AstraZeneca led to the development of a targeted anti-cancer agent AZD9291, that was approved by the FDA in November 2015 and is now used internationally under the name osimertinib/Tagrisso. As of 2018 this drug has been used to treat >30,000 patients worldwide, and along with his colleagues Sam has been recognised for this work through the 2017 RSC Malcolm Campbell Award and the 2018 ACS Heroes of Chemistry award.


Vice-Chair:
Dr Mike Hann
Mike has over 35 years experience of Pharma drug discovery activities with Roussel, Wyeth, GD Searle and Glaxo/GlaxoWellcome/GSK, initially as a medicinal chemist, then as a computational chemist and more recently in managing teams in structural biology, biophysics and bioMS and other sciences at the interface of chemistry and biology. He has contributed to the development of concepts in computational chemistry, fragments, attrition reduction and compound disposition in cells and maintains a keen interest in new methodologies but with a firm grip on the realities of the eternal challenge that drug discovery presents.


Development Officer:
Dr Gregor Macdonald
Gregor is Vice President Head of BD&L at Lundbeck. He was formerly Senior Director of Scientific Licensing (Neuroscience), within Janssen Business Development, the Pharmaceutical Companies of J&J. In this role, he leads the global identification and evaluation of all clinical stage therapeutic opportunities in Neuroscience, particularly focussed on Alzheimer's disease, Mood disorders and Schizophrenia. Prior to this position, Gregor was Head of Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry at Janssen, where he led discovery teams in Belgium and Spain towards the identification of clinical drug candidates in the fields of Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia and order psychiatric and neurological disorders. In addition, Gregor was also extensively involved in identifying external drug discovery opportunities and prosecuting research collaborations with a variety of academic, biotech and pharma partners. Previously, he has worked within the Medicinal Chemistry depts. of GlaxoSmithKline and SmithKline Beecham, also in the CNS area, identifying several late clinical stage drug candidates. Gregor is also a co-author and co-inventor on over 110 scientific publications and patents and has been an invited speaker and panellist at several national and international conferences.


Honorary Secretary:
Mrs Pamela Brown
Pam has over 30 years experience in anti-infective drug discovery, initially gained at GlaxoSmithKline and legacy companies, leading medicinal chemistry teams in hit to lead and lead optimisation phases of drug discovery. Pam led the chemistry at Cantab Anti-infectives Ltd which was recently bought by Spero Therapeutics. Pam Brown Consulting was formed in 2017, offering independent advice in antibacterial drug discovery and medicinal chemistry to SMEs and biotechs. Pam has over 35 publications in patents and peer-reviewed journals on the design and synthesis of antibacterial agents in a variety of antibacterial classes. She holds a degree in Chemistry and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.


Co-Fundraising Officer:
Dr Linos Lazarides
Linos is currently Senior Business Development Executive at Charnwood Molecular, specialising in medicinal & synthetic chemistry and preclinical integrated drug discovery and development services. He has over 10 years industry experience as a medicinal chemist/project leader, gained at GSK & various CRO’s (Selcia & Eurofins Discovery), with involvement in drug discovery projects resulting in a clinical candidate and numerous development candidates, in various therapeutic areas. He is co-author on >25 patents and publications. He has an educational background of Medicinal Chemistry (MSci) and Synthetic Organic Chemistry (PhD / Postdoc) at University College London.


Co-Fundraising Officer:
Prof Mohammad Alavijeh
Mo is a science entrepreneur with over 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having responsibilities as wide-ranging as R&D and innovation, business development and strategic alliances at Pharmidex. He was previously head of drug metabolism, DMPK/PD at Vernalis Research, before which he was DMPK team leader at Aventis Pharma. Mo is visiting Professor at University of Hertfordshire and a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and the Royal Society for Medicine (FRSM).


Honorary Treasurer:
Dr Richard Davenport
Richard is currently a Senior Programme Leader at C4X Discovery working on Inflammation and CNS programmes. Richard has over 20 years' experience of drug discovery research and has previously held senior medicinal chemistry positions at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, UCB and Celltech working in the therapeutic areas of Inflammation, CNS and Metabolism.


Media and Communications Officer:
Dr Sarah Skerratt
Medicinal chemist and drug discovery leader with a strong track record of delivery from the exploratory phase to the clinic. Scientific expert across multiple target classes (kinases, GPCRs, ion channels, solute carriers and nuclear hormone receptors). Innovator of data-driven and structure-based medicinal chemistry design strategies. Expertise across multiple areas of drug discovery that include pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, toxicology and pharmaceutical sciences. Experienced project leader with exemplary communication, decision-making, strategic and operational skills. Recognised people leader with experience of direct and matrix line management. Author of >40 patents, peer-reviewed publications and external presentations.


Dr Darcey Black
Darcey Black is Founder/Director of TherapeutAix (www.therapeutaix.com), of recently established life-sciences consultancy, focused on providing strategic input and project management in drug discovery and early clinical development to life sciences start-ups, biotech and pharma. He has over 30 years’ experience in pre- and early clinical drug discovery working in all aspects from target ID and validation, LO and translational studies in early clinical development, in different therapeutic areas including CV, inflammation and neuroscience. Previously, he was Head External Innovation in the Innovative Medicines Unit at Grünenthal Innovation IMU, Aachen, Germany. He joined Grünenthal as Head of Translational Research in 2011. Prior to joining Grünenthal, he worked for Merck (formerly Organon/Schering-Plough) in the UK in senior project and line management roles, and for Pfizer and Glaxo (now GSK) in the UK and Switzerland.


Dr Kate Brown
University of Cambridge


Dr Ken Cameron
CRUK Beatson Institute


Prof Amal Elkordy
University of Sunderland


Dr Isha Gupta
Isha is a Manager with the Translational Sciences and Engineering group in Galvani Bioelectronics. It is a pioneering medical research company dedicated to the development of bioelectronic medicines to treat chronic diseases. She is working on early to late-stage therapy discovery by researching on key scientific questions across engineering, pre-clinical and clinical development. Her role is to manage delivery of dose recommendation for multiple disease areas leveraging platforms such as electrophysiology and computational modelling. She also works with the Clinical team to implement & investigate neuromodulation therapies in the clinic. Isha has a PhD in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from University of Southampton.


Dr David Hirst
MSD, London


Dr Phil Jeffrey
Phil is Senior Vice President of Preclinical Development at Bicycle Therapeutics and has over 35 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Hehas a successful track record in drug discovery from early lead optimisation through to clinical proof of mechanism and proof of concept across a wide varietyof therapeutic areas and drug modalities. Phil previously held positions at Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, SmithKline Beecham and The Upjohn Company and is an Honorary Professor at the William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London.


Dr Matthew Konneh
Matthew is founder and Lead Consultant of Konnsult Lifesciences Ltd, a UK based consultancy providing strategic and business development services to preclinical pharmacology and early clinical development CROs, and enables accelerated access to niche service providers for the global pharma-biotech industry. Matthew is based in London and has worked in in pre-clinical pharmacology (Novartis), clinical research ( Parexel, Biotrial) and strategic consultancy (Accenture) in the pharma industry for the past 20 years. He holds a PhD in Pharmacology and an MBA.


Dr Andy Merritt
LifeArc, Stevenage


Dr Daniel O'Donovan
Daniel is currently a Medicinal Chemistry Lab Head at Bayer Pharmaceuticals in Berlin, Germany. Prior to his current position, he worked as Associate Principal Scientist in Early Oncology R&D at AstraZeneca, Cambridge UK. His research interests include targeted protein degradation, epigenetics, immuno-oncology and antihormonal cancer therapies. He holds a PhD in chemistry from Trinity College Dublin with postdoctoral experience in both Germany (Max Planck Institute for Kohlenforschung) and the UK (University of Oxford) and is co-author of >20 patents and publications.


Prof John Overington
John is currently VP Discovery Informatics at Exscientia plc. He was formerly CIO at the Medicines Discovery Catapult. He has over 30 years experience of drug discovery informatics, across academic, biotech and large pharma sectors. He has deep experience of the application of informatics methods to problems in drug discovery, ranging from target selection through to real world evidence analytics of drug patient benefits. His current professional interests focus on big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence.


Dr Martin Swarbrick
Martin has recently joined Ryvu Therapeutics. His previous role was Associate Director, Cancer Research UK Therapeutic Discovery Laboratories (CRUK-TDL), where he led the Medicinal Chemistry, DMPK, and Protein Sciences and Structural Biology functions. CRUK-TDL has an exclusive focus on establishing and prosecuting biologically-themed multi-project alliances with commercial and academic partners. Prior to joining CRUK, he worked in industrial drug discovery and development at GlaxoSmithKline, leading medicinal chemistry teams and discovery projects.


The Society for Medicines Research is a registered charity and the officers of the Society (Chair, Vice-Chair, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer, Fundraising Officer and Development Officer) are also the charity trustees. The trustees are jointly responsible for setting the strategic aims, objectives and direction of the Society. This includes, for example, the overall management and decision making of the Society such as recommending changes to the rules or recommending new officers for the Society and approving the appointment of new members of the Committee.

As well as attending the quarterly meetings of the committee, the trustees also meet together at least once a year to ensure that the business of the Society is conducted within the law and in accordance the governing document of the Society. The SMR completes an annual return for the Charity Commission of England and Wales which gives information about its activities and accounts.